Study: Facebook as addicting as alcohol, cigarettes

Study published in Psychological Studies


JACKSONVILLE, Fla.A new study out of the University of Chicago shows that the urge for a Facebook fix is as strong as an addict's urge for alcohol and cigarettes.

The study surveyed 250 people and was published in the journal Psychological Studies. The surveys showed that sex and sleep were the two things most thought about during the day, and the need to check Facebook was too hard for most participants to overcome.

Researchers fitted participants in the study with devices which logged nearly 8,000 reports about the participants every day desires. According to Dr. Wilhelm Hoffmann, the report also revealed how people handled resisting the temptation to check social networks throughout the day.

The study's findings didn't surprise psychologist Matt Borer.

"Theoretically, it doesn't have an affect on you, but I bet if you looked at a brain scan of somebody on Facebook, depending on what they're doing, it would show all types of dopamine firing that drinking and cigarettes do," said Borer.

Borer said the dopamine comes from the pleasure centers of the brain. He thinks Facebook plays to that part of people's psyche.

"Smoking you got to smoke, drinking you got to drink. Facebook you can just sit there and stare and creep, enjoy and brag. You see we all want to look good. It's the high school reunion phenomenon," aid Borer.

Channel 4 asked people if they would be able to log off the social network if they had to.

"I don't know, that's a good question," said one Facebook user.

"I am going to say yes because I am in front of a lot of people right now," said Cesar Grijota.

"I am on a lot, a lot and a lot of my friends are on 24/7. That's all they do, they don't do homework because Facebook is there," said Nila Stanford.